Rainfall Feeds Problem Properties - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/07/04

Rainfall Feeds Problem Properties

Recent rains have added to the problem of overgrown property along the coast.

Code enforcement officers normally keep busy with high grass complaints during the summer. But all the rain makes such eyesores even worse.

There's no law that defines an "eyesore" property. You know it when you see one. There are eyesores and overgrown lots all along the coast. But WLOX News decided to check on a pair of especially prominent properties.

The long vacant Burger King on Highway 90 in Biloxi has turned into a "whopper" of an eyesore. The overgrown play land resembles a jungle, while weeds threaten to overtake the drive through window.

It's frustrating to the hotel owner next door.

"It certainly is. You know it just hurts the whole image of Biloxi. The Gulf Coast as a whole. And of course with this being my neighbor, this really, really hurts us," said John Bosch, who owns the neighboring Emerald Beach Quality Inn.

It's especially unsettling since Bosch takes such care landscaping his property.

Just down the street, a vacant RV Park is an overgrown mess. The weeds and grass there were cut, just before Memorial Day, at the order of Biloxi code enforcement.

"And the property owner went out and did cut the grass. I think the overgrown lot was the biggest part of it. Went in and cut the grass and what you're seeing out there now is a result of what's grown back since he cut it," said code enforcement spokesman, Jerry Creel.

Complaint forms filed by citizens stimulate action at code enforcement offices. Neighbors or city inspectors may file the initial paperwork. Folks filing a complaint against an eyesore property in Biloxi will begin at the downtown community development office.

But if you're filing a complaint, be persistent and be patient. A single complaint against a property owner can take up to three months to resolve.

As for the empty eyesore Burger King, the city was being lenient with a proposed developer who did have plans for the property.

"In that case, the proposed development fell through. So, we'll be addressing that property if we haven't already," said Creel.

In Biloxi, once code enforcement violations are confirmed, a property owner is given 30 days to correct the problem. Sometimes the disputes wind up in Community Court, where the judge has the final say if there's a disagreement about cleaning up problem properties.

By Steve Phillips

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